Pointing is the term given to the ‘finish’ that is between the bricks or stone used to build the brickwork of your wall or chimney stack.
Over time, weathering and deterioration cause cavities to the joints of the mortar, usually which can allow water ingress. Water entering through these voids can cause significant damage. If there are visible spaces/cavities where mortar once was, you should start thinking about the repointing process.
It is essential to use the right components and the correct mortar mix when pointing/repointing brickwork as walls need air circulation; if the pointing has been incorrectly applied and doesn’t allow the wall to ‘breath’, the brickwork will rapidly deteriorate.
There are different ways to apply mortar pointing. Some contractors bring the mortar to the very edge, flush with the face of the brick. Others leave it recessed back to allow water to shed off the building.
There are three types of recessed mortar:
Bucket handle – the mortar is in a curve shape away from the face of the brick.
Weatherstruck – the mortar starts close to the bottom brick and recesses back as it goes up towards the upper brick.
Recessed – the mortar sits back from the face of the brick.
Whilst mortar pointing is sometimes considered to purely be a cosmetic issue, it is actually very important and is a major facture to the wall or chimney stacks stability. Lack of maintenance can cause water ingress or can even lead to the brickwork becoming unstable and dangerous. In some cases the wall or chimney stack may need to be rebuilt.